Strong To Severe Thunderstorms Likely This Evening

Thunderstorm stock image

JAMESTOWN – A round of showers and thunderstorms will move in to Western New York tonight and some could be on the strong side.

The NOAA Storm Prediction Center has outlined much of Western New York under a standard “Slight Risk” (2/5) for severe thunderstorms tonight with an “Enhanced Risk” (3/5) bordering the NY/PA line.

The Setup: A deep area of Low pressure associated with a warm front currently stationed a bit north of Tennessee will be moving towards the northeast through the day and ultimately moving through Western New York.

On-again, off-again type of rain will continue through the afternoon. A couple rumbles of thunder are possible but no severe weather problems are expected this afternoon thanks to a capping inversion in the upper levels of the atmosphere.

It is not until the front marches its way closer to the region is when the issues begin. A squall line of showers and thunderstorms will fire along the front as it marches north. The cap will break out ahead of this line and overall instability values will rise. The higher amounts of instability looks to be confined to the Western Southern Tier where high-resolution Mesoscale modeling is suggesting several hundred Joules Per Kilogram of Most-Unstable CAPE across the Southern Tier this evening.

The main timing window for the strongest activity will be between 7 and 10 PM this evening for the Southern Tier and 10 PM to 1 AM for areas eastward into Central NY.

Time lapse of the super high-resolution HRRR forecast model showing the line of storms moving through Western NY

Impacts: Given the dynamics we have in the atmosphere, the primary threat from these storms this evening will be damaging straight-line winds but a touch of large hail cannot be ruled out. While the overall higher tornado threat lies within the Enhanced Risk zone, there is a SMALL chance for an isolated, spin-up tornado within the line as it progress through Western NY.

Torrential downpours are also a possibility with this feature with most model guidance pointing to three quarters of an inch to one quarter inch of rainfall across the area. However, the accumulation will not be widespread due to the nature of the convection this evening.

Projected rainfall from the 1km HRRR

One thing that we often say is thunderstorms can and often do produce tornadoes with little to no advanced warning. Squall-line tornadoes are very difficult to spot on radar as they are often embedded with in Reflectivity and they have such short life spans its hard to properly warn for. Spotting these in the wild is also very hard to do as these types of tornadoes are often completely obscured by heavy rain and terrain issues of our area (hills, tress, etc) further reduces a spotter ability to see.

Stay weather aware this evening and have a plan for you and your family should you need to take shelter. Be sure to have a way of getting weather warnings. A good way to receive warnings is via a NOAA Weather Radio. These receivers can be picked up quite easy and normally cost around $25.

Beyond the weather radio, have a good smartphone app that pushes vital info. We recommend:

Know where you should go if a Tornado Warning is issued for your area. A basement or storm cellar works best. However, if you don’t have one, the basics are:

  • Small interior room (a hall closet, bathroom etc)
  • Lowest floor of the house
  • Stay away from windows
  • No cars
  • No mobile homes – If you live in a mobile home, you must exit and find more substantial shelter. You should already have worked out a plan before hand so you know where you’re going when Watches are issued.

Within your safe place, everyone should have a readiness kit of certain items. These include:

  • Helmets to protect your head from flying debris
  • Hard-sole shoes for walking through a possible debris path
  • A whistle or an air horn in case you become injured and you cannot vocalize your need for help
  • Batteries/Portable radios
  • Make sure your phone is fully charged
  • Have ID with you

We will keep the weather center fully staffed throughout the day and will go live with weather coverage on Facebook Watch, the website and our app should conditions warrant.

WNYNewsNow is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.

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